Hydro Dipping

Hydro Dipping

Hydro dipping is a technique that is used for transferring camo, wood grain, and other complex patterns to three-dimensional objects. Through a chemical interaction, the design becomes part of the object. Hydro dipping produces vivid colors, and every part of the object is covered with the pattern. Hydrographic designs require no special printing equipment, and you can use any material that can withstand being submerged in water, such as ceramics, plastics, metal, and fiberglass. You can also hydro dip wood, but you should exercise caution because the process may warp the wood if you do not use a sealer primer.

What Is Hydro Dipping?

Hydro dipping is a way to transfer graphics to objects without expensive printing equipment or paint. The process works by placing a special film on the surface of the water. A chemical solution is sprayed onto the film, which causes the film to dissolve into the water. The pattern adheres to any object that you submerge in the water. DIY hydrographic dipping has several advantages over other techniques:

  • Hydrographic kits include all the items you need
  • Complete coverage with the pattern, including small openings and crevices
  • Customizable designs or patterns
  • Works on most materials
  • Objects can be small or large

How Do You Hydro Dip?

When you have a complete hydro dipping kit, the process is easy and fun. You can use the patterns that come with the kit or have a custom pattern applied to the film. You fill a container with water and lay the film on the surface. When you spray the film with the chemical solution that comes with the kit, the film/pattern dissolve into the water. After this, you immerse the object in the water and remove it is completely covered with the pattern from the film.

History of Hydro Dipping

The exact origin of the water transfer printing process is unclear. However, the first hydrographic apparatus registered for a US patent was by Motoyasu Nakanishi of Cubic Engineering KK on July 26, 1982.

Its abstract reads, “[a] printing apparatus provided with a structure which supplies a transcription film into a transcription tub containing a liquid so that the transcription film is kept afloat on the liquid, a structure which makes the liquid flow in a direction in which the film is supplied, and a structure which slantingly immerses an article to be printed into the liquid in the transcription tub from an upstream position to a downstream position of the liquid.

The water transfer printing process is extensively used to decorate items that range from entire all-terrain vehicles and car dashboards, to small items like bike helmets or other automotive trim. Films can be applied to all types of substrates including plastic, fiberglass, wood, ceramics, and metal. For the most part, if the item can be dipped in water and can be painted using traditional techniques then the hydrographic printing process can be used.


  • Firearms that are not disassembled and/or cleaned of debris by the customer prior to submission will incur an additional $65.00 fee.
  • For pricing on items not listed below, our shop charges .75 cents per Square Inch. 
  • Our shop also has a Minimum of $30


Yes, we use only the highest grade materials. After all items are printed they receive a clear coat finish in either a gloss, flat, or matte finish. The clear coats used are the same that are used in the automotive industry and marine industries.

Yes, items that are printed can be re-printed without much difficulty.

A wide variety of flat or 3-D shapes and manufacturing materials such as plastics, metals, woods, glass, etc. can be printed. Everything from sunglasses, to home furniture to your custom motorcycle parts can be printed with ease.

Hydro-Dip™ makes every effort to have your products decorated and being sent back to you within 1-2 weeks after its arrival in our shop.HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

Due to the unique nature of custom work, estimates are given on a per item per job basis. The prep time, size and the complexity of the item or items being printed are the main focus for determining cost. Volume orders are also bid individually.

Yes and No. Some patterns allow for the base tone to be changed so that you can achieve a wide variety of colorful looks. While other patterns, such as branded camouflage patterns, require us to use a standardized base tone due to licensing regulations. Call for more information.

Yes, all parts to be printed need to be completely disassembled. All parts should be sent in a “Ready to Paint” condition. Please be sure to only bring in or send in cleaned items. Only send the pieces and parts that are going to be printed. Hydro-Dip™ cannot be responsible for the disassembly or re-assembly of your product.

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